Friday 9 October 2020

The first time I went past the Lido restaurant there was a Grey Wagtail hunting along the shore, screened from the people on the terrace by a row of planters. 

 When I returned a couple of hours later there were two. At least one of them is a new arrival in the park. I believe that they visit from a colony on the edge of the Thames below Chelsea Bridge, where there is an old coal wharf for Bazalgette's grand sewage pumping station in the French Beaux-Arts style.

Starlings at the Round Pond enjoyed the spray from the waves breaking over the edge, and looked for food and splashed about in the little pools on the tarmac.

A Great Tit at the leaf yard pecked delicately at a pine nut it took from my hand.

A Wren flitted around in the bushes beside the Long Water, pausing for just long enough for one hasty shot.

A Starling at the Lido ignored the notice saying ENTRY, and left to look for food at the restaurant.

A Jackdaw perched in the reddening leaves of an American oak tree (Quercus coccinea) at the Vista. These trees are planted for the colour of their autumn foliage.

So is this tree, which has the added advantage of plentiful red fruits. I had to look it up: it's a Broadleaf Cockspurthorn (Crataegus persimilis), also from America.

A pair of Cormorants at the island gazed soulfully into each other's turquoise eyes.

Below them, one of the youngest Great Crested Grebes looked for insects in the basket ...

... while its father, not being pestered for once, took it easy out on the lake.

A pair of Shovellers at the Vista looked fine in the early sunshine.

Later it started raining, but that didn't bother them and they went to feed under the brambles at the edge of the Long Water.

The pair of Gadwalls have moved back from the Italian Garden to the lake. 

The Black Swan was grazing on the edge of the Round Pond. It stood up straight, displaying its astonishingly long neck.

Despite the drizzle, a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee was feeding on the flowers of the arbutus by the bridge.


  1. I visited the park this afternoon and was walking in Kensington Gardens southward and parallel to the West Carriage Drive when I’m sure I’m sure I saw a small raptor flying fast northwards alongside the trees. But it was gone in a couple of seconds.
    I saw a grey wagtail by the little pond at the top of the Dell waterfall. It became rather restless at the presence of a nearby magpie and flew off.

    1. Probably our resident female Kestrel, who often hunts in this area.

  2. Is the teen Grebe good at catching insects? Did it catch anything while you were there?

    The Starlings look so happy, making a splash and playing in the spray. Perhaps there are worse fates than being a Starling.I am reminded of Cassandra's words in Aeschylus' Agamemnon:

    Ah me, ah me,
    The fate o' the nightingale, the clear resounder!
    For a body wing-borne have the gods cast round her,
    And sweet existence, from misfortunes free.

    1. Birds live in a constant state of war, with the sparrowhawk of misfortune lurking around every corner. But Philomela's existence as a nightingale must at any rate have been preferable to her miserable life as a human.

  3. The tree upon which the jackdaw is perched is not a sweetgum tree, but an American oak, probably Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)

    1. Thank you. Careless of me not to look more closely.